Savennieres Advice

Yesterday, tasted an awesome 1996 Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulee de Serrant, in the past, an even greater bottle of 1971 Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulee de Serrant. Both in a style I strongly prefer, leaning toward bone dry, plenty of minerality and age worthiness, great fruit balance. Have limited tasting experience outside a few younger Baumard (Trie Speciale, Clos du Papillon) which were ok, but nothing profound like the Joly. What other producers do you think make outstanding Savennieres? What are the top vintages? Would like to accumulate wines for my personal cellar, and appreciate any insight.

Baumards can be wonderful with age. The 96 regular bottling was superb. I had the 97 Tris Speciale recently, which was also terrific, in a richer style, naturally. They had some premox issues in the early 2000s with the regular bottlings, though, to which I can testify.

1996, 2001 and 2002 were good vintages generally. I haven’t really followed it in recent years, though.

My absolute favorite is Savennières-Roche aux Moines from Domaine aux Moines. Hard to find, but grab some if you can.

The best QPR I have found in the dry, mineral-laden style is a Kermit Lynch import, Savennières “Cuvée Speciale” from Château d’Épiré. It ages very well.

Any chance that bottle was from Rare Wines recent offer? I bought some but have not tried it yet.

I will second the Baumards. More high-level consistency than I have experienced with Domaine Aux Moines, Closel, d’Epire, although in better vintages they can all produce very good wines. Plus, I have had more luck finding back vintages of Baumard than the rest, and I prefer older Savennieres. I have had some fairly young examples from both Damien Laureau and Eric Morgat, and they seem like promising producers that will elevate the appellation.

Here is the result of a blind tasting of Loire Chenin. These are Rob F’s ratings

I can second the recommendation for Château d’Epiré Cuvée Spéciale, but it’s a different style from Nicolas Joly, much more tamed, more on the fruity side than on the herbal side. I absolutely love Domaine du Closel’s Clos du Papillon when ripe. It’s quite powerful, but oh so good. Sort of in a similar style to Nicolas Joly, I like Domaine Gué d’Orger, biodynamic too, quite wild and untamed, hands-off in approach. The domaine is small though, I haven’t seen it outside France.

Here’s what I believe is the most recent thread on the Baumard premox problem. If you’re looking for older wines, this is a factor you need to consider.

Eric Morgat Savennières L’Enclos.

Appreciate the suggestions so far, look forward to picking up some of the wines if available! Mel, correct, the bottle did come from Rare Wine Co. in Sonoma, opened by a good friend with lunch. Did not take detailed notes, but remember commenting the wine would be spectacular in 10+ years! No rush to open, enjoyed it now, but think it will get much better with age. Have this feeling it is what the 1971 must have tasted like young.

If you really like the Joly style, it might always be the pinnacle for you. I haven’t had any others that taste like that.

You could certainly try other Joly Savennieres wines: Clos de la Bergerie, Clos Sacres. I like Closel – Papillon for older, Jalousie for younger. Vintages: 1996, 2002, 2005, 2010, 2011.

I’m not sure but I think the older Joly were made a differently than current Joly, from about mid-late 90’s.
Joly’s style is idiosyncratic in Savennieres, and is more Joly than Savennieres.
Close de la Coulee Serrant is widely recognized as the best terroir in Savennieres.

I love, and buy without hesitation, Baumard, Closel, Domaine aux Moines and Chateau d’Epire, as others have mentioned.

Not mentioned yet; Claude Papin of chateau Pierre-Bise makes a nice range of different and affordable Savennières, but his Roche-aux-Moines -he bought a small slice about 10 years ago- is consistently excellent.

Second that. Excellent wines.

I find Savennières an under-performing appellation compared to Vouvray, which has a fine constellation of growers, like Huet (when under Pinguet), Foreau, Chidaine, Blot…

I see some votes for Epiré above but a stash of about 3 dozen from assorted 90s vintages bought at the estate in 1998 has proved to be one of my worst purchases with many oxidised bottles and others just dull; the only one which has recently been singing well is Cuvée Spéciale 1996.

A Baumard Trie Spéciale 1990 was excellent but my other Baumards have not been extraordinary. My bottles of Closel Clos Papillon 2002 were excellent but other people have been disappointed. A Pierre-Bise 1997 tasted like Condrieu !! when young but rapidly turned heavy and dull. I have liked some vintages of Soulez’s Château de Chamboureau Cuvée de l’Avant and Ch. Bizolière bought at quite low prices but, now that Domaine FL has taken over with a Bordelais consultant, I’ll give them a miss and I expect that their prices will at least double.

My tastes of Morgat and Laureau have been very promising.

While having had superb Coulée de Serrant from the eighties and early nineties, I have found these wines very difficult to drink and/or evaluate after the 1996 vintage. Frankly, I’ve had a better success rate with the Clos de la Bergerie.
I have yet to come across a truly impressive wine from Baumard and believe me; I’ve taken a rather wide sample across their range.

Tim’s observations above seem to underline my opinion that Savennières just isn’t a very easy wine/terroir to understand. In their closed down state -which can last for up to a decade- they often seem oxidized, when they really aren’t. Its minerality seems to reinforce that impression, however.

I’ll third Tim and Mike’s comments. I’m a big fan of chenin blanc, but I’ve mostly given Savennieres a miss, as I think the wines generally underperform relative to some other areas.

I also have a bias in that I tend to prefer demi-sec over sec, since I think CB benefits from some residual sugar.

Chenin blanc certainly performs differently in Savennieres than it does anywhere else, and that’s it’s charm - to me.

Just as I have a bias in favor of dry. And - again, by my palate - the most profound and the most fascinating expressions of dry Chenin blanc I have encountered have all been Savennieres.

I agree that Savennières can have a special character. My problem is that I have met so few producers who bring out the best in it. Have you any favourites?